freezer meals

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Simple Clean and Homemade I Eggrolls 3

Tomorrow is Friday. Friday is our most frequent day to get take out. Not this week. This week we are going to my parents’ house to get haircuts and get our staple groceries that we enjoy from their area.

I have a total love/hate relationship with take out. I LOVE that I don’t have to cook as soon as I get home from work but I HATE that the food usually gives me a stomach ache and isn’t as good as I anticipated. Therefore, I tend to make a lot of our take out favorites at home. One of those things is egg rolls. I grew up eating lots of egg rolls. My best friend’s dad always invited us over for wonton soup and egg rolls. It was one of my favorite meals. My homemade egg rolls bring back memories of those fun dinners. The big difference with theses is that they are baked, not fried.

Baking egg rolls gives them a different texture than fried egg rolls. I actually have grown to like the baked version much better. I like the crispy, aldente texture.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Egg Rolls 2

I start by browning my pork. Once it is brown, I add three bags of coleslaw. In the summer, I buy fresh cabbage and carrots from a farmer, but this is about a million times easier. I rarely buy packaged food, but this recipe is one of those times that I don’t mind a few short cups.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Egg Rolls 3

I think the hardest part of making this is judging the filing. You want to get as much moisture as possible out of the filling because you are baking and/or freezing these. This is what the filling looks like when I first start with all of the coleslaw.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Egg Rolls

This is what the finished filling looks like. I have to say, it is so good, you could just eat it like this. But the extra egg roll making step is totally worth it.

Simple Clean and Homemade I Eggrolls

I like to serve these with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard. Sometimes we add a little hot chili oil for the extra spice. This is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It is so quick straight out of the freezer.

Baked Pork Eggrolls

by Jessica

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients (28 eggrolls)

  • 2 pounds pork chops or loin, diced
  • 3 pounds bagged coleslaw (fresh cabbage and carrots)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 8 ounce cans water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 28 egg roll wrappers

Instructions

In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the pork. When the pork is brown, add the coleslaw and allow the coleslaw to cook down until most of the moisture is gone. Add remaining ingredients except the egg roll wrappers. Cook until the moisture is cooked out. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When the mixture is cool, spread egg roll wrappers on the counter. Have a small bowl of water next to your work space. Put about 1/4 cup of the filling on each wrapper. Close the wrappers, sealing with water.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet, spray all sides of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Cook about 15 minutes on one side. Flip and cook until both sides are crispy. Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Hot Mustard.

To freeze: Wrap the uncooked egg rolls in plastic wrap. Place in a zip top bag and freeze. When ready to eat, follow the above directions with the frozen egg rolls.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 9

One of the reasons I started a blog was because I was bursting with excitement to share all of the cool things I taught myself how to do in the kitchen. For New Year’s I decided to make something that I have wanted to try for a really long time. Pierogies seem to me like they are a staple. Living in Pittsburgh, they are a popular food served at restaurants as well as churches. If you are unfamiliar, they are dough filled with some kind of filling (often potato), boiled and pan fried. I knew they would take some work but would be well worth the effort, and boy was I right.

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I started by baking the potatoes. I decided to bake the potatoes because of the same logic I used when I made gnocchi. Baked potatoes reduce the amount of water, intensifying the potato flavor which is what I wanted. While the potatoes baked, I made the dough. It is a super easy dough to make and roll. It is pretty forgiving and does not rip easily. Because I am not fancy, I used a regular drinking glass to cut the dough into circles.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 2

I made the potato mixture and used a scoop to put it on the dough. Then, I dipped my fingers in water and ran them along the outside edge. I pulled the dough around the potato filling. I found that it was easiest to do that part when I was holding it in my hand.

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I sealed the dough by using the tongs on a fork.

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And took the finished perigees and placed them on a cookie sheet to freeze.

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Making homemade pierogies is time consuming but oh so rewarding. I have a giant bag of homemade pierogies in my freezer right now that I could use to make dinner in less than 20 minutes. They are organic and I know exactly what is in them. I served them along side some roasted broccoli (my current favorite side dish).

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Oh and with tons of slightly browned onions.

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For the creamiest, most delicious pierogies that I have ever had. If you were scared to try making them, don’t be.

Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Chive Pierogies

by Jessica

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

 

Ingredients (48-58 pierogies)

    For the Filling

    • 8 potatoes, pierced with a fork
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    • 2 chopped green onions
    • salt and pepper to taste

    For the Dough

    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1 16 ounce container sour cream
    • 2 eggs plus one yolk
    • 4 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons salt

    To Serve

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 onions, cut pole to pole
    • salt
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 9-12 pierogies

    Instructions

    For the Filling

    Bake to potatoes at 450 degrees until tender on the inside (30-40 minutes). Cut in half and scoop the inside of the potatoes into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Add the sour cream, butter, milk, cheddar cheese, and green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

    For the Dough

    Combine the butter, sour cream, and egg until well mixed. Add the flour and salt and mix until it forms a dough. Divide the dough in half. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll the dough out on a floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut the dough into circles.

    Scoop the potato filling onto the dough circles. Moisten your fingers with water and rub the outside edge of the dough circle with water. pull the dough over the potato scoop . Press to seal with a fork. Place finished pierogis on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen solid. Store in a zip top bag in the freezer.

    To Serve

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water and add boil until the pierogies float. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Drain.

    In a large skillet, cook the onions until translucent in the butter and oil, salting the onions so they cook faster. When the onions are just starting to brown, add the cooked pierogies. Sauté for a few minutes until they are slightly browned. Serve with a leafy salad or your favorite veggie.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Coffee Cake Muffins

    This weekend I got my hair cut. It seems like it is a totally mundane thing. Yeah, so I did get my hair cut, but the best part of getting my haircut is breakfast. Last year we ALWAYS got my hair cut on Thursdays. We drove to my parents’ house, got my hair cut where they live, and take their dogs back with us to take them to the dog groomer. This year we go up there every weekend. It actually makes hair appointments really convenient. After we go, we go out to breakfast.

    Last weekend we went to Dunkin Donuts. I don’t really love it there, but every now and then I like a little breakfast treat. I normally eat some form of a sesame bagel because they are the best flavor of bagel. I really didn’t want a bagel but a muffin sounded so yummy. I ordered the coffee cake muffin.

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    I am pretty sure everyone knows that the top of the muffin is the best. That is what I ate. Not the bottom. I don’t like that part. To conclude this really long breakfast story, the whole thing inspired me to make a similar (not the same) muffin for breakfast this week. Their version is a little too much like a cupcake in texture for me. I really wanted mine to be more like a coffee cake. The kind that is rich but really needs a cup of coffee to go with it. Especially my new coconut flavored coffee that I bought last week.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Coffee Cake Muffins 2

    I am sharing with you my breakfast this week. And, I even ate the whole muffin, not just the top.

    Coffee Cake Muffins

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 20-24 minutes

     

    Ingredients (12 muffins)

      For the Streusel

      • 1/3 cup sugar
      • 1/3 cup brown sugar
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons Cinnamon
      • 1/8 teaspoon salt
      • 1 stick butter
      • 1 1/4 cup flour
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla

      For the Swirl

      • 1/4 cup sugar
      • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

      For the Muffins

      • 1 stick butter, softened
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla
      • 3/4 cup sugar
      • 1 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
      • 1 3/4 cup flour

      Instructions

      For the Streusel

      Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with a mixer until the butter is incorporated.

      For the Swirl

      Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until homogenous.

      For the muffins

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

      In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and mix with an electric mixer to combine. Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Beat to combine. Add remaining ingredients and beat until most of the lumps are gone.

      Fill the muffin tin about 1/3 of the way full. Add a layer of swirl. Then, fill to about 3/4 full with batter. Top with streusel. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

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      Simple Clean and Homemade I Three Meat Chili 2

      I had a rough week. It all started when I broke the printer at work. I didn’t actually break it. It still functions. I just made it so nobody else could use it for two days. We are on a printer network where I can either send something, log in and print to whatever printer I happen to go to or I can print to the one closest to me. I needed 15 pages. That was it. I thought I changed the count correctly but apparently I printed a 200 page manual 15 times. 3000 pages. In a place where I am only allowed to print 1000 pages per month. There is no way to stop it once it starts printing, so we solved it by removing the drawer until someone from IT fixed it. 2 days later.

      It was the first in a series of stressful events of the week. The second most traumatizing was my friend from high school’s Dad dying on Halloween. It is not that it was unexpected, but I thought about what an important part of my life their family was for 13 years. We were friends since we met in kindergarten.

      After the two major traumas, I decided to make something for dinner this weekend that I made last week, chili.

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      You see, that chili that I made last weekend was so good that it was all I wanted after my stressful week. So I made it again. That’s right. I liked this recipe so much I made it twice within one week. I have another go to chili recipe, but it requires so many spices. I wanted something with less ingredients. While this still has a lot of ingredients, as all of my recipes do, it has significantly less spices. I love spices, but they can be expensive and very annoying to tote back and forth to my parents’ house each weekend. I love the simplicity of this dish. Most of the flavors come from local produce and some low slow cooking.

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      I really enjoy chili with beans in it. If you are curious, I did make the exact same recipe without the beans for my parents. They hate beans and refuse to eat them. The chili was still delicious. I also only used 2 jalapeño peppers in their version and no habaneros. My mom does not eat spicy food. She did not think it was spicy with the 2 jalapeños.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Three Meat Chili

      Hopefully I don’t break the printer again any time soon. If I do I have some extra chili stashed in the freezer. Enjoy the chili!

      Three Meat Chili

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Cook Time: 3-4 hours

      Ingredients (8-10 servings)

      • 1 tablespoon oil
      • 1 small onion, diced
      • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
      • 5 bell peppers, assorted colors, diced
      • 4-5 jalapeño peppers, diced
      • 2 1/2 pounds of meatloaf mix (3/4 lb each of ground pork, veal, and beef)
      • small can tomato paste
      • 1 light colored beer
      • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
      • 1 tablespoon chili powder
      • 1 habanero, whole with a few slices in it (optional)
      • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
      • 2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
      • 2 tablespoons beef better than bouillon
      • 4 cups water
      • salt to taste

      Instructions

      In a 6 quart pot, heat the oil. Cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic, and jalapeños. Cook until tender. Add the meat and brown. Salt to taste.

      Add the tomato paste and cook an additional minute. Add the chili powder. Deglaze the pan with the beer. Cook about 5 minutes until the beer is reduced by at least half.

      Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on medium low or low for 2-3 hours or until very thick. Serve with your favorite toppings.

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      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 8

      I love a fast dinner. Especially when I can have a delicious meal on the table in less than 20 minutes on a hectic weeknight. In order to do that, I am more than happy to invest some extra time prepping in advance so that I can save some time when I don’t have it after work. One of my husband’s favorite meals is spaghetti and meatballs. If I would let him eat it everyday, I am sure he would. With his obsession, I like to keep homemade sauce in the freezer. I make it in huge batches so we can pack the freezer for later.

      If you follow me on Facebook, you probably already know that I spent a couple days last week making sauce using fresh, local tomatoes. I made it twice. The first batch was my trial run and the second was to make sure I had a solid recipe. I have to say, this is some of the best sauce that I have ever eaten. It tastes like summer and will be so good in January (if it lasts that long) to taste fresh, summer tomatoes.

      This sauce is very versatile. You can use it as is to make a big bowl of pasta or use it as an ingredient in other sauces. I like to use basic sauce to make Vodka sauce, Bolognese, and even minestrone soup. The most important part of this process is to peel the tomatoes. If you have never done that before, look below for pictures.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

      Score each tomato with an x on the bottom using a sharp knife.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 2

      Core the tomato.

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      Dunk the tomatoes in boiling water. I like to do 5 tomatoes at a time. Count to 30.

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      Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and dunk them in an ice bath.

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      Peel off the skin. It should come off easily.

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      Some recipes tell you to dice the peeled tomatoes. That seemed time consuming to me. I just squeeze them into a bowl.

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      I doubled the recipe to make this pot and ended up with 25 pints. I like to keep the banana peppers and freeze them in the sauce. I use them on pizza.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce 9

      If you have a little extra freezer space and some tomatoes, this is a great way to enjoy summer fresh tomatoes all winter.

      Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 60 minutes

      Cook Time: 2-3 hours

      Ingredients (12 pints)

      • 1 peck plum tomatoes
      • 1 bag ice
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1/2 diced onion
      • 4 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
      • 1 small can tomato paste
      • 20-30 basil leaves
      • 2-3 hot banana peppers
      • salt to taste

      Instructions

      In an 8 quart or larger pan, heat olive oil and cook onions on medium low until translucent.

      While the onions are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice and water to create an ice bath. Boil water in an 8 quart pot filled about half full (enough to cover a tomato). Core the tomatoes and score with an x on the bottom.

      Next to the boiling water, set up the ice water, a slotted spoon, a bowl for the tomato peels and a large bowl for the peeled tomatoes. Boil 5 tomatoes at a time for 30 seconds. Remove quickly from the boiling water and place in the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Remove from the ice water and peel the skin off of the tomatoes. Squeeze the tomatoes in a large bowl. Repeat until all the tomatoes are peeled.

      When the onions are translucent, add the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the basil. Cook for 20-30 minutes.

      Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes until smooth. Add the banana peppers and salt to taste. Cook for about 3 hours until the sauce has reduced by about 1/4. Allow to cool before freezing.

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      Simple Clean and Homemade I Veggie Burger

      I mentioned earlier this week that we made food for over 60 people on Saturday for my mom’s bus tour. One of the things we offered to the guests was veggie burgers. I had to make homemade veggie burgers because they are so much better. I have made this recipe a bunch of times. It comes from Angela at Oh She Glows. Every single recipe that I have made from her has been amazing. My recipe below is actually different than hers. I intended to follow her directions, but I totally mixed them and then realized that I really, really did not follow the directions.

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      Her burgers are delicious and I highly recommend them. I wanted to share with you what I did. I am totally in love with them. They are feel very meaty when you bite into them. My mom tasted a patty by itself when I made them and informed me that they did not taste like beef. In case you are wondering, they do not taste like a hamburger. I think they are a million times better.

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      I topped mine with stadium mustard (btw if you have not tried it yet, it is my new fav mustard), aioli, lettuce, and tomato. Best. Veggie Burger. Ever. Even better is that I have a bag full of them in the freezer for a fast weeknight meal.

      Veggie Burgers

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 30 minutes

      Cook Time: 20 minutes

      Keywords: bake grill sandwich entree

       

      Ingredients (12 large burgers)

      • 2 15 ounce cans black beans
      • 3 cloves garlic
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
      • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
      • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
      • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
      • 1/4 cup chili powder
      • 1 tablespoon cumin
      • 2 teaspoons oregano
      • 1 large handful cilantro, chopped
      • 2 large carrots, grated
      • 1 jalapeño, diced
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 3/4 cup oat flour
      • 1 1/2 -2 cups bread crumbs
      • cooking spray

      Instructions

      Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet and set aside.

      In a food processor, smash the black beans and garlic until it is a puree. You will need to scrape down the sides several times.

      Transfer the black beans to a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, adding breadcrumbs as needed. Form the dough into 12 patties. Try to make the patties the same size as the bun you plan to use.

      Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

      To Freeze: Wrap each patty in plastic wrap and place in an air tight container.

      To use: Defrost patties. Grill until warm or cook in the oven or in a skillet on the stove. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

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      Simple Clean and Homemade I Blueberry Muffin with Streusal Topping

      It has finally happened. There are blueberries EVERYWHERE. Can I tell you how inexpensive blueberries are here? They are only like $4 a quart. So, being that they are my favorite food, we have to pack in as many blueberries as possible each summer. Yesterday I finally had an opportunity to relax a little. I knew my husband was eating a bizarre mixture of cereals at work that were left in our pantry before the move. I mean, it was seriously disgusting. I think there were cocoa krispies mixed with fruit loops and shredded wheat. Nasty. I asked him what he was eating for breakfast and he sort of said cereal. I think he knew how much work I have been doing lately and didn’t want to disrupt me.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Blueberry Muffin with Streusal Topping 3

      What he didn’t know was that I can’t let blueberry season go by without overusing them. So, I asked him if he would like some muffins for the freezer. He was very excited. Yesterday afternoon I went out to one of my parents’ Amish friend’s houses and purchased two quarts of blue ray blueberries. If you are not familiar with blueberries, there are many varieties. I like blue ray because they are tart and not too sweet. Perfect for muffins.

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      The thing that makes these muffins so good are not just the cups of fresh blueberries, but the homemade jam swirl. Honestly, these take more time than plain muffins. You are making quick jam first. But the punch of sweet, tart blueberry flavor in each bite can’t be beat.

      Simple Clean and Homemade I Blueberry Muffin with Streusal Topping 2

      These muffins are fluffy, sweet, tart, with a slight taste of lemon. The streusel topping adds a little crunch and a touch of sweetness. These are a perfect way to use all the fresh. local blueberries you can find.

      Blueberry Muffins

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 40 minutes

      Cook Time: 18 to 22 minutes

      Keywords: bake breakfast bread blueberries summer

       

      Ingredients (30 muffins)

        For the Blueberry Jam Swirl

        • 2 1/2 cups blueberries
        • 1 tablespoon water
        • 1 teaspoon sugar

        For the Streusel Topping

        • 1 cup oats
        • 1/2 cup brown sugar
        • 4 tablespoons flour
        • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
        • 1/4 teaspoon salt
        • 4 tablespoons butter
        • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

        For the Muffin

        • 1 stick butter
        • 1/2 cup oil
        • 1/2 cup milk
        • 4 eggs
        • 1 1/2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
        • 3 teaspoons vanilla
        • 1 3/4 cup sugar
        • 2 cups whole wheat flour
        • 3 cups white flour
        • 2 teaspoons salt
        • 5 teaspoons baking powder
        • zest of 1 lemon
        • 2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
        • blueberry jam swirl
        • streusel topping

        Instructions

        Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.

        For the Blueberry Jam Swirl

        In a medium sauce pan, add blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook for about 10 minutes until all of the berries have popped and the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside.

        For the Streusel Topping

        Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter until the butter is fully incorporated. It should look like wet sand.

        For the Muffin

        Melt the butter for 1 minute in the microwave. Allow to sit and cool for 2 minutes. Add the oil, milk, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and sugar. Stir to make a homogenous mixture.

        Add flours, salt, lemon zest, and baking powder. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are moist. The batter may be slightly lumpy. Fold in the fresh blueberries. Drizzle in the blueberry jam. Using a knife, swirl it through the batter.

        Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and top with streusel topping. Spray the tops with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

        Bake at 425 for 18 to 22 minutes.

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        Simple Clean and Homemade I Bolgonese 4

        There was a week a while back where it seemed like every time I turned on the t.v. someone was making or eating bolognese sauce. I had never really thought about making it before. Meat based sauces were never something we ate growing up. We always ate marinara sauce. In fact, when I think about meat sauce, I think about the disgusting school lunch concoction from my childhood.

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        After seeing about 20 different variations of bolognese, I decided I should give it a try myself. I took what I learned and developed this recipe. Swoon with the first bite. I never thought I would like meat sauce, but this is so much more. It is hearty and meaty, and savory. It is actually a little adicting.

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        I served it with bucatini. That’s the pasta that looks like spaghetti except it has a hole going down the center. There was once an Italian restaurant that used it as a straw. This pasta is perfect for the sauce because it gets absorbed into the center and goes in the nooks and crannies. Al dente bucatini really stands up to this hearty, rich sauce.

        Simple Clean and Homemade I Bolgonese

        I know that this does not seem like a summer dish, but it does not require the stove. Plus, when you see what I have in store for you tomorrow, you will see how much fun and how tasty this could be in the summer.

        Bolognese Sauce

        by Jessica

        Prep Time: 20 minutes

        Cook Time: 3 hours

        Keywords: simmer entree

        Ingredients (6-10 servings)

        • Olive Oil
        • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
        • 2/3 pound ground beef
        • 2/3 pound ground pork
        • 2/3 pound ground veal
        • 2 ribs celery, chopped
        • 2 carrots, chopped
        • 1/2 onion, diced
        • .06 pounds dried chanterelle mushrooms, soaked in water for an hour
        • 4 cloves garlic, minced
        • 1 cup red wine
        • 1 small can tomato paste
        • 1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
        • 2 cups water
        • salt to taste
        • handful parmesan cheese
        • 15-20 leaves basil, chopped

        Instructions

        In a large Dutch oven, heat over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and pancetta. Cook until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

        Place the meat in the pan. Allow to sear on one side before stirring. The meat should cook slowly over about 30-40 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary. The meat should get slightly browned. Salt to taste

        Add more oil to the pan if needed. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, reconstituted mushrooms, and onion. Cook an additional 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked thoroughly.

        Deglaze the pan with red wine. When the red wine has mostly cooked out of the sauce, add the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and break them up with a spoon. Add about 2 cups of water.

        Allow to simmer on the stove for an additional 1-2 hours. Add parmesan cheese and basil just before serving. Adjust salt to taste.

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        DSC 0331

        A few months ago, a friend from work had a baby shower for her son and daughter in law. It was so exciting getting ready for it and discussing all the details. She decided to have a mashed potato bar. So, we spent a lot of time discussing topping options. I suggested meatloaf meatballs. I had to try it almost immediately.

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        This is my version of the meatloaf meatballs. I made them a few months ago and froze them in a zip top bag. It ended up being several meals for us of the course of a few months. Each time, I made mushroom gravy and then simmered the meatloaf meatballs in the gravy. I served them over mashed potatoes.

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        The thing I like the most about this is that it is freezable and already in individual serving sizes. That makes it perfect for a quick dinner or a party. If you want to try a mashed potato bar, I highly recommend it. It was a genius idea.

        Meatloaf Meatballs

        by Jessica

        Prep Time: 10 minutes

        Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

        Keywords: bake entree appetizer

         

        Ingredients (2-3 dozen meatballs)

          For the Meatloaf

          • 2 pounds ground meat (I use beef)
          • 1/2 onion diced
          • 2 eggs
          • 1/2 cup milk
          • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
          • salt
          • pepper

          For the Gravy

          • 10-12 crimini mushrooms
          • 2 tablespoons olive oil
          • 2 tablespoons flour
          • 1 tablespoon beef better than bouillon
          • pepper to taste

          Instructions

          For the Meatloaf

          Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into meatball shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 or until cooked through. Allow to cool. Serve or freeze in a zip top bag.

          For the Gravy

          In a medium skillet, cook the mushrooms until browned. Salt to taste. Add remaining oil and flour. Whisk in cups water. Add the beef bouillon and cook until thickened. Add the meatloaf and serve.

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          In the fall, when I am totally obsessed with apples, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin, I have trouble remember some of my other favorite meals. Back in November, I shared with you my sweet potato gnocchi recipe. We enjoyed eating that fluffy pasta with a super creamy sauce. It was super convenient because I could store it in the freezer and make it in just a few minutes on a weeknight. Well, in my excitement of fall flavors, I forgot to share my gnocchi recipe that uses regular white potatoes. They are also a great weeknight meal that can be made way ahead and frozen. It does take a while to shape all of the little tiny pasta but, it is totally worth every second.

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          I like to get my supplies ready while I am baking my potatoes. I bake them because I think the potato flavor concentrates. I use a potato ricer. We bought an inexpensive ricer specifically for making gnocchi. Now I use it for other potato dishes, too. I use a dish towel to protect my hands from the hot potato. The fork is to blend the eggs and the flour. The knife is to cut the potatoes and the spoon is to scoop out the insides.

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          With the ricer, make a giant pile of potato on a very clean counter dusted with flour. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper.

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          Sprinkle to flour on top a little at a time and use the fork to blend it. Eventually I just get my hands in there and mix. I add just enough flour until it comes together but is still moist and slightly sticky.

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          Roll it into a ball.

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          Cut into 6-8 sections.

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          Roll each section out like a snake. Think play dough as a kid.

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          Cut it into bite-sized pieces and roll them with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Freeze and store in a zip top bag.

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          The day I made the gnocchi I made my vodka sauce to go with it. It works well with most sauces and takes only minutes to cook.

          Gnocchi

          by Jessica

          Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

          Cook Time: 5 minutes or less

          Keywords: simmer entree potato

          Ingredients (12 servings)

          • 3 pounds Idaho Potatoes
          • 3 teaspoons salt
          • 3 cups 00 Flour
          • 3 eggs
          • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

          Instructions

          Bake the potatoes at 450 until tender, about 45 minutes.

          While the potatoes are cooking, prepare your counter by flouring the surface withe 00 flour. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with plastic wrap.

          While the potatoes are hot out of the oven, scoop out the insides of the potatoes and put it in a potato ricer or food mill. Rice all of the potato and form a pile.

          Make a well in the potato and add the egg, pepper, and salt. Whisk with a fork and slowly incorporate the flour a little at a time until it forms a slightly sticky dough. It should be about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour.

          Add more flour to your surface. Cut the dough into six parts. Using one part at a time, roll out the dough in flour like a snake about 1/2 inch thick. Cut off 1/4 inch pieces. Roll with a fork and place on the baking sheet. Continue until all dough is formed into gnocchi.

          Place in the freezer overnight. Remove from the tray and store in a zip-top bag until ready to use.

          To cook: Boil in slated water until the pasta just floats. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the water and serve with your favorite sauce.

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